Joaquin Phoenix's Music CareerJoaquin Phoenix has a few shows under his belt now, but when asked how his career's going he joked about the status of his hip hop. "Terrible," said Phoenix, laughing. "No, the thing is, it's weird. I haven't done a bunch of shows. I did like a lot of freestyling around the city. I've gone to little small places and I guess some people there filmed it, which was really nerve-wracking because there's literally people heckling you and saying Johnny Cash and saying this stuff. So it was really difficult. I got really nervous. But the show in Vegas, I just don't think you could tell on the video that's out there but I think it was a lot better than people think or what's been said because of how it appears on the video and that quality."
"It's quite a process, like mic control and stuff, and I have to say that I'm not really there yet. I realized that stuff because I've watched footage that we shot. I realized all the times when I had the mic away from my mouth I didn't realize. That was probably from Walk the Line where I was doing it to playback and sh-t, so if you get away from the mic, it didn't matter."
"I guess for me in some ways, I just figure put yourself out there and crash and then you rebuild yourself. You find your way into it. I didn't really want to work with, you know I found out like all these hip hop dudes, they all work with vocal coaches. They do training; they do a whole thing. I never knew that. I didn't really want to do that. I didn't want to just start out and just hire a producer and get somebody to write stuff for me, do all that. I didn't want to do it. I wanted to really do it myself and feel what it was like. I think that if I didn't have, I guess, some celebrity or whatever it is that I have, I think that it wouldn't matter and then people wouldn't really be aware of me until after some time. But just the first thing I do gets thrust in the spotlight and I knew that, but I just said, 'F--k it.'"
So what exactly was happening in that famous YouTube video in which Phoenix seems to fall off stage? "What happened was first of all, it's not a stage," explained Phoenix. "It's about this wide, right? Okay, you're up on this little platform. There's f--king lights everywhere, right? In your eyes, flashing and sh-t like that, and everything's dark. And I literally just went to step off the thing and misjudged and slipped down. I wasn't f--ked up and fell down. I jumped down I literally jumped back up and said, 'I'm fine.' But I honestly was so nervous that it's all kind of a blur. I don't feel like I really was aware of what was happening until it was like halfway through the second song."
One of the truly interesting aspects of Phoenix's transition away from acting and into music is the constant presence of his brother-in-law actor Casey Affleck who's videoing everything. Phoenix is notoriously private about his life, but yet he's involved in this documentary."
"Well, we don't necessarily know it's going to be public," said Phoenix of Affleck's video. "I mean, I'm just doing something for myself. That's my friend [indicating Affleck] for f--k's sake, you know what I mean? It's not like I hired this professional doc crew and I'm doing a documentary on myself that's going to be put [out]."
Phoenix continued, "It's a document for me and I think that it is I know, it's hard because you sound incredibly arrogant to go like, 'Oh, it might be interesting watching me.' But I don't think that it's about me. I think it's anybody that is going through an extreme transition like that. I think it just might be interesting. Maybe it's just ridiculous, I don't know. But don't worry. I won't force it upon you. Okay?"
And as for those people who think this is all a giant put-on, Phoenix has this to say: "I'd say to the people, whoever said that it's a hoax is clearly somebody that is an old friend or somebody that I worked with on music. You know, I've worked with a lot of people on music and oftentimes those things don't work out. Sometimes you have some bad blood between people and that's all that I imagine where it comes from because I don't know what else it is. Part of it is, part of me understands that people are going to say that and I realize that part of it might seem ridiculous to people, but I can't concern myself with that. I'm not going to be worried about what people think that my life is and I've never conducted myself that way. What people think has never affected my decisions, anything that I've done. No matter what film that I've done, whatever it is. I'm not going to let that start now."